Louis van Gaal: Soccer Saturday panel give verdict on Manchester United manager

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The Soccer Saturday panel were aghast at Manchester United's defeat at FC Midtjylland. Here they have their say on Louis van Gaal's position as manager

Should Manchester United stand by manager Louis van Gaal? That was the question posed to the Soccer Saturday panel...

United's surprise Europa League defeat to Danish minnows FC Midtjylland in midweek - just days after a Premier League loss at relegation-threatened Sunderland - piled further pressure on Van Gaal.

 Louis van Gaal (L) Manager of Manchester United  during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg match between FC Midtjylland
Image: Van Gaal is under big pressure after United's midweek Europa League defeat

The 20-time top-flight champions currently sit fifth in the table - six points off rivals Manchester City in fourth - and will be desperate to avoid further embarrassment when they take take on League One Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup fifth round on Monday.

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All four of our pundits believe United's hopes of a top-four finish are over but do they think the Old Trafford hierarchy should continue to stand by the beleaguered Dutchman? 

Paul Merson

"Ed Woodward is the one who keeps backing him but I think that [the Midtjylland game] was their worst result since Bournemouth beat them in 1984, 32 years ago.

"This team [Midtjylland] shouldn't be on the same pitch as Manchester United.

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Manchester United players show their dejection
Image: Merson says Man Utd's loss to Midtjylland was the club's worst since 1984

"How Van Gaal is staying in a job is scary at the moment. What other manager in the world - except for Arsene Wenger- would keep his job?

"I don't know what Manchester United's standards are anymore. They used to be winning the Premier League; I don't think that's their standard at the moment."

Phil Thompson

Louis van Gaal Ed Woodward
Image: Thommo feels if Van Gaal gets sacked, it could make the board look foolish

"Van Gaal says 'Ed Woodward, Sir Alex Ferguson and the owners have given me complete backing'. He's putting them in a corner.

"He's letting everybody know that these guys are behind him. If they turn around and put the knife in and you're gone, it's making everybody look foolish.

"They're still in a good position for fourth place but these two cup games are massive. If they then leave it and make the decision [to sack van Gaal] after the cup games, or the Premier League games, they'll look even sillier."

Charlie Nicholas

Members of the Glazer family
Image: Charlie Nicholas believes the Glazer family are 'buying time'

"His hands are tied. He's almost got to go back to the Glazers and say: 'What is the situation, what do you want me to do?'

"It seems there are too many chiefs at Manchester United. I think they're buying time at the football club because they're petrified after the reaction to David Moyes getting the sack. Now they've got a man with a CV which they thought was enough for them, but it's proving to be incorrect.

"At this time, they're buying time for Louis van Gaal - the only thing that's keeping him there, it seems, are the American owners."

Tony Cottee

Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton
Image: Cottee believes Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton could influence a decision

"I think Manchester United are lucky because they've got two fantastic football people.

"They've got Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Alex Ferguson, so from a football point of view, forget the owners or chief executives, you have to think that surely it's time for a change.

"I'm really surprised Van Gaal's still in his job."

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